Reopening of Bawnboy Garda Station – Smith

Following further representations I have been informed by the Minister of State that the OPW will advertise their Part 9 planning application for Bawnboy Garda Station next week.

This project will consist of refurbishment  and fit-out works in the Garda Station in Bawnboy.  It is one of six Garda Stations that will reopened under a Pilot Scheme.

Belturbet Bombing December 1972

Below is a reply by the Minister for Justice to the most recent Parliamentary Question I tabled in Dáil Éireann regarding the bombing in Belturbet in December 1972.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 15/12/2020
Question Number(s): 464 Question Reference(s): 43504/20
Department: Justice
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question No. 8 of 10 September 2020, if she will ensure further investigations are carried out into the Belturbet bombing of December 1972 following the submission of a report to her Department (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) (Details supplied – Report by Edward Burke of Nottingham University and forwarded by Deputy Brendan Smith to the Minister for Justice on 10th September 2020).

REPLY


I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. I know that he has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the families for many years and, of course,  I am in full agreement with him that the perpetrators of this atrocity should be brought to justice.

The bombing of Belturbet on 28 December 1972 was an appalling and callous act of violence that claimed the lives of two innocent young people and injured others. The pain and anguish caused was very evident in the RTE Investigates programme last night as family members recalled the events that took their loved ones away.  

The dreadful effects of this attack last to this day; the suffering of those who have lost what was most precious to them goes on. That the perpetrators of this atrocity have never been held accountable for their crimes can only compound the sense of loss.

My deepest sympathies go out to the bereaved and injured and it is my firm desire that the perpetrators will face justice and the families find the answers they seek.  

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Authorities have previously advised that the bombing and the murders were comprehensively investigated by An Garda Síochána at the time. The Defence Forces provided expert assistance and the investigation involved close liaison with the authorities in Northern Ireland. Despite every avenue of enquiry being pursued at the time there was insufficient evidence to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The investigation into the bombing and the two murders has not been closed and An Garda Síochána will pursue any new evidence or information that is made available. An Garda Síochána would, of course, work in close co-operation with the PSNI where that could advance the investigation.

Following the Debate in the House in September, I arranged for a copy of the academic article referred to by Deputy Smith, which concerned inter alia the Belturbet Bombing and information on a potential suspect, to be forwarded to the Garda authorities for attention.

I have also requested an update from the Garda authorities on the investigation.

Most importantly, I appeal for anybody with any information that may be relevant to this case, even after nearly 50 years, to bring it to the attention of the Garda Authorities to aid their investigation.

New Garda District Headquarters Bailieborough

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith welcomes the confirmation from Minister of State O’Donovan that the Office of Public Works has received the necessary approval from An Garda Síochána to issue tender documents for the construction of Bailieborough Garda Station.

“This will enable tenders to be issued to the pre- qualified list of contractors for the construction of the Garda Station. Tenders will be returned early in 2021 for assessment and detailed consideration and it is expected that the preferred tenderer will be appointed within a short timeframe.

This new accommodation will be a welcome development providing modern facilities for Members of An Garda Síochána serving the Bailieborough District” stated Brendan Smith TD.

Further government funding for Community and Voluntary Organisations – Smith

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith welcomes the additional funding under the Covid-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary Organisations in Cavan and Monaghan.

“This Fund was established to support organisations, providing important services in local communities, which have been impacted by Covid-19 in their fundraising activities”, stated Deputy Brendan Smith. 

The following Organisations have received top-up grants –

CAVAN

Bailieborough Swimming & Leisure Centre CLG

Drumgoon Community Centre Co-Operative Society Ltd

The Cavan Centre

Camcas (Ballyconnell) Company Ltd

Killinkere Development Association

Cuan Cavan Cancer Group

Castlerahan Community Devopment Ltd

 

MONAGHAN

Knockatallon Development Company Limited By Guarantee

Iontas

The Down Syndrome Centre North East Company Limited By Guarantee

Clones Development Society Limited

Corduff Raferagh Community Association CLG

Crocus Cancer Support Centre CLG

Truagh Development Association Company Limited By Guarantee

Phoenix Centre Carrickmacross Company Limited By Guarantee

Castleblayney Care Housing Association Company Limited By Guarantee

Bawn Area Community Groups Company Limited by Guarantee

Aghabog Development Association Company Limited By Guarantee

Cu Chulainn Blood Bikes CLG

St Michaels Regional Community Development Company Limited by Guarantee

Tullycorbet Community Development Association

Doohamlet Community & Resource Centre CLG

FUNDING FOR SWIMMING POOLS – BRENDAN SMITH TD

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smith has welcomed the provision of funding for swimming pool operators throughout the country  by his colleague, Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for Sport.

“This is a difficult time for swimming pool operators and they have faced particular financial challenges over the past number of months.  Swimming has a very high participation rate and swimming pools are an important resource for communities and clubs throughout all regions.  This funding being provided by the Minister of State will help to ensure the sustainability of many swimming pools and assist in meeting the substantial costs in running same.

The following Centres will benefit in Cavan/Monaghan –

Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre – €9,107

Cavan Swimming and Leisure Complex – €10,567

Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort – €7,818

Slieve Russell Hotel – €8,677

Zest Health & Fitness – €9,107

Coral Leisure Monaghan Ltd – €11,512

Hillgrove Hotel – €7,302

The government has made a number of financial allocations to assist community and sporting organisations to support them in meeting the particular challenges that have arisen due to the covid-19 pandemic” stated Brendan Smith TD.

2021 Summer Works Scheme

I welcome the approval by my colleague Norma Foley TD Minister for Education of more than one million euro for school projects in Cavan and Monaghan under the 2021 Summer Works Scheme.

10 schools in Cavan with grant aid of €855,298 will benefit and 4 schools in Monaghan have been approved with grant aid of €221,662 under the scheme.

The works approved are for roof repairs at primary level and toilet and other sanitary facilities at primary and post- primary levels.

This early approval enables schools to make the necessary preparations in good time for such improvement works to be undertaken during the summer of 2021.

Minister Foley has over the last few months allocated substantial funds to many schools to enable them make necessary accommodation adaptations due to the covid 19 pandemic.The 2021 Summer Works Scheme will enable these schools whose applications have been approved carry out necessary improvement works’, stated Brendan Smith TD.

Schools approved in Cavan –

Loreto College, Virginia College, Dromaili SN, Killygarry NS, Virginia Primary, Scoil Bhride, SN Naomi Feidhlim Boys, SN Leitir, Castlerahan, SN Lathrach 2

Monaghan Schools –

St Louis Secondary School, Scoil Mhuire, St Mary’s BNS, Drumcorrin NS

For sometime I had raised with Cavan County Council and Irish Water the need to upgrade the public water supply scheme in Swanlinbar and I welcome this investment.

Swanlinbar water supply removed from at-risk list following Irish Water upgrade works

Issued 25 Nov 2020 – Over 300 Irish Water customers in Swanlinbar, Co Cavan, are enjoying a better quality and more secure supply of drinking water following the completion of upgrade works to the local water treatment plant following an investment of €500,000.

Irish Water, working in partnership with Cavan County Council and two contractors – Coffey Water and Veolia, completed essential upgrades to the Swanlinbar Water Treatment Plant which has now been removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL). The RAL is a list of at-risk schemes, and customers supplied by the Swanlinbar Public Water Supply (PWS) will be happy to know their scheme is no longer at risk.


Explaining further why Swanlinbar PWS was on the RAL Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Compliance Specialist said: “Swanlinbar was placed on the RAL towards the end of 2019 after a Do Not Consume notice was placed on the scheme due to a failure in the disinfection system. Irish Water adopted our Drinking Water Safety Plan approach to critically assess all the risks at the plant and an extensive upgrade of the plant followed which ensures the plant will provide a safe and secure supply of water into the future. The EPA are satisfied that all of the works that were completed on time and to the appropriate standards have addressed the risks and are in line with the Drink Water Safety Plan.”

Explaining the technicalities of the works carried out, Martin Temple, Irish Water added: “In a response to the failure of the disinfection system at the Swanlinbar Water Treatment Plant Irish Water invested €500,000 to upgrade the plant. As part of this project, Irish Water upgraded the existing water treatment plant to include the installation of pH correction units; installation of a raw water shut-down system; improved alarms and shut-down systems and an upgrade of the disinfection process. These improvement works will ensure the residents and businesses in Swanlinbar and surrounding area will receive safe and clean drinking water due to the improved water treatment processes now in place.”

Irish Water continues to work at this time with our Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services. Irish Water would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.

Significant capital investment is needed over a sustained period of several decades to address the poor condition of Ireland’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in the Government’s Water Services Policy Statement and Irish Water’s Strategic Funding Plan. Irish Water has invested €3.8 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure to the end of 2019 and plans to invest a further €5.2 billion under its Capital Investment Programme from 2020 to 2024 in drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure.

Need to retain Cross Border Healthcare Directive – Brendan Smith TD

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Health to ensure that the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive remains in place post Brexit with particular reference to Northern Ireland and Britain.

“Over recent years more and more patients have had procedures and healthcare undertaken in Northern Ireland and Britain under the Cross Border Healthcare Directive.  This Healthcare Directive covers all of the European Union but the vast majority of patients who avail of this Scheme have had the treatment provided in Northern Ireland or Britain.

With Britain no longer a Member of the European Union and the Transition Period ending on the 31st December it is essential that the continuity of this Scheme is secured. 

The Minister for Health in his reply to my Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann has confirmed that his officials are giving detailed consideration to a number of policy and legal issues associated with the feasibility of implementing a unilateral Cross Border Directive type arrangement which would provide that Irish residents could continue to access services provided by private health service providers in Britain post the end of the Transition Period.

It is essential that the present arrangements remain in place from the end of this year due to the value of this Scheme in enabling patients on waiting lists access healthcare in a more timely manner.  In particular specialities where there are long hospital waiting lists access to healthcare in Northern Ireland or Britain has been very beneficial to many patients and the retention of this system is very important”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

The Minister in his reply in Dáil Éireann stated – 

“Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining, in so far as possible, the current healthcare arrangements under the Common Travel Area (CTA).  Under the CTA, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access publicly funded health services there. The Government is working to ensure that new arrangements through a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK will provide for continued access to reciprocal health services, between Ireland and the UK, including on the island of Ireland, which residents in both jurisdictions currently access.

It is acknowledged however that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has implications for healthcare arrangements that currently operate under the EU legislative framework, including those arrangements covered by the Cross Border Directive (CBD). With effect from 1 January 2021, the provisions of the CBD will no longer apply to the UK. My officials are giving detailed consideration to a number of policy and legal issues associated with the feasibility of implementing a unilateral CBD type arrangement which will provide that Irish residents can continue to access services provided by private health service providers in the UK post the end of the Transition Period”, concluded Minister Donnelly in his reply to Deputy Brendan Smith.

Below please find replies to my Parliamentary Questions –

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 19/11/2020
Question Number(s): 327,328 Question Reference(s): 37698/20, 37699/20
Department: Health
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION



* To ask the Minister for Health the measures being taken to ensure that the EU Cross Border Directive on health-care remains in place post-Brexit with particular reference to Northern Ireland and the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 19 November, 2020.

* To ask the Minister for Health the outcome of discussions if any that have been held with the Departments of Health in Northern Ireland and the UK in relation to the EU Cross Border Directive on health-care post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 19 November, 2020.

REPLY




Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining, in so far as possible, the current healthcare arrangements under the Common Travel Area (CTA).  Under the CTA, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access publicly funded health services there. The Government is working to ensure that new arrangements through a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK will provide for continued access to reciprocal health services, between Ireland and the UK, including on the island of Ireland, which residents in both jurisdictions currently access.

It is acknowledged however that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has implications for healthcare arrangements that currently operate under the EU legislative framework, including those arrangements covered by the Cross Border Directive (CBD). With effect from 1 January 2021, the provisions of the CBD will no longer apply to the UK. My officials are giving detailed consideration to a number of policy and legal issues associated with the feasibility of implementing a unilateral CBD type arrangement which will provide that Irish residents can continue to access services provided by private health service providers in the UK post the end of the Transition Period.

The need for maximum co-operation on an all island basis in dealing with covid-19 pandemic

Reply by the Minister for Health to further Parliamentary Questions I tabled in Dáil Éireann in relation to the need for maximum co-operation on an all island basis in dealing with the covid-19 pandemic.


______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 19/11/2020
Question Number(s): 340,341,342 Question Reference(s): 37744/20, 37745/20, 37746/20
Department: Health
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


* To ask the Minister for Health the progress to date in implementing measures on an all-island basis to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Departments of Health, North and South; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 19 November, 2020.

* To ask the Minister for Health the measures agreed at the North-South Ministerial Council meeting on Health in October 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on an all-island basis; the progress to date in implementing such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 19 November, 2020.

* To ask the Minister for Health his plans to utilise the Co-operation and Working Together framework to intensify co-operation on a cross-Border basis in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 19 November, 2020.

REPLY

There has been significant engagement and cooperation between the Ministers for Health, the Chief Medical Officers, and the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland throughout this pandemic.  

An MOU on COVID-19 Response and Public Health Cooperation, was formally agreed by the Chief Medical Officers of the Department of Health and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland on 7th of April 2020.   The administrations are seeking to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so and on the advice of respective Chief Medical Officers. Meetings of the North South Ministerial Council are an important pillar in our regular engagements with NI counterparts on COVID-19.

A meeting of the North South Ministerial Council for Health and Food Safety was held on 2nd of October 2020. The close and productive cooperation that has taken place between Health Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and health administrations North and South to deliver an effective public health response on Covid-19 was welcomed by myself and by Minister Swann. It was agreed that both jurisdictions are committed to continue to exchange views in order to foster a commonality of approach in response to the pandemic and hope to provide a progress update at a future NSMC Health meeting.

Practical implementation of the MoU has seen cooperation on contact tracing apps, critical care, and to discuss the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Mink in Denmark.

The Cooperation and working together partnership between the Health Service Executive and the Southern and Western health and social care trusts, the health and social care board and the public health agency in Northern Ireland health continue to play a significant role in promoting cross border health and social care cooperation. CAWT continue to deliver projects on a north south basis.